Kentucky’s changing climate causing problems for allergy sufferers

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For allergy and asthma sufferers, you may be noticing that it seems like allergy seasons have been getting worse and you’re not wrong in believing that.

According to Dr. Priya Warrier, with Family Allergy and Asthma, we have been experiencing higher than average pollen counts this time of year and their center has seen a direct impact with more patients seeking allergy relief.

“Every year around this time you’ll see an influx of patients that are doing particularly worse,” Dr. Warrier said. “This year, it’s been terrible, every single day I’ve had people come in. For some reason, I’ve heard a lot more people with eye symptoms.”

Now, one of the leading contributing factors to why our allergy seasons are getting worse is warming temperatures and, as we reported back in early May when our new climate normals were released, Kentucky has been seeing that warming trend.

“Depending on how dry it’s been, depending on how much warmer one particular season is, there’s always going to be these ups and downs,” said Sean Sublette, a meteorologist with Climate Central. “But, when we think about the longer term, these 20, 30, 40-year increments, the trend is unmistakably warmer with more pollen.”

In fact, over the past 50 years, Lexington’s growing season has increased by roughly five days and spring temperatures have been warming by nearly two and a half degrees.

But along with temperature, carbon dioxide also plays a big role in the amount of pollen produced and, unless emissions are reduced or cut, this means allergy seasons will continue to get worse in the future.

“It’s kind of like plant food. So, the amount of pollen it produces and the amount of proteins that are within it are stronger and as a result, our receptors, and our noses, and our other systems are a lot more sensitive it,” Sublette said.

According to Dr. Warrier, the best way to combat allergies is to go to an allergy center to find out what specific allergens affect you most so then you can get the best allergy shot.

Copyright 2021 WKYT. All rights reserved.